Rules are rules, but that doesn’t mean they’re good rules.
Massachusetts native Emily Nash learned that the hard way Tuesday, when she shot the top score at a high school boys’ golf tourney at Blissful Meadows Golf Course in Uxbridge, Mass., but was denied a trophy because she’s a girl, according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Nash, a junior at Lunenburg High School, shot a 3-over 75 at the Central Massachusetts Division 3 boys’ golf tournament — four strokes better than runner-up Nico Ciolino, who was named the medalist.
Ciolino reportedly offered the trophy to Nash, who declined.
“I thought it was really nice of him,” Nash told the Telegram & Gazette on Wednesday. “And I kind of felt bad for him because I knew he got the trophy, and he felt really awkward about it.”
Thanks to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s guidelines, Nash won’t compete in next week’s state tournament as an individual — because she wasn’t awarded first place. She would’ve been able to compete if her team had qualified, which it did not.
Nash, who reportedly played from the same tees as the boys, was informed of the rule prior to teeing off.
“But I wasn’t aware until after my round that if I won, I wouldn’t be able to get the title or the trophy,” Nash told the Telegram & Gazette in a phone interview Wednesday. “So I was definitely disappointed, but I understand that there are rules in place. I don’t think people expected for this to happen, so they didn’t really know how to react to it.
“None of us are mad at the MIAA or anything like that, but I was definitely a little bit disappointed.”
Still, because she’s the No. 1 golfer on the Lunenburg boys’ team, Nash is eligible to compete in the state sectional girls’ tournament in the spring, according to the Telegram & Gazette.
“The optics of (Tuesday) don’t look great,” Pete Jones, a first-year member of the MIAA state golf committee, said. “I understand that. The MIAA is in a tough position … and Lunenburg is a school that as of now can’t field a girls’ golf team, so Emily gets to compete with the boys this fall.
” … Then she’ll have an opportunity in the spring to compete with fellow high school girls golfers.”
Nash reportedly was voted the Mid-Wach C League most valuable player in boys’ golf both as a freshman and as a sophomore.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/Only In Boston